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In reply to the discussion: Military haircuts [View all]


(26,450 posts)
8. I managed to grow 9 months of hair without getting it cut
Tue Jun 25, 2024, 12:03 PM
Jun 25

I purchased a cheap ‘short-hair’ wig and survived the personnel inspection before deployment. My hair was already quite long from having been in school and briefings for a couple of months - away from the withering glares of those in my command with a vested interest in the length of my hair. A skilled razor-wielding stylist carved out some naked real estate at the back of my neck and around the ears. This was long before the punk practice of shaving hair randomly to create a shocking contrast in lengths. I was just trying to get all that hair under the rug.

As a test, I wore the wig to a trendy-for-the-day, pre-disco dance club to observe whether anyone was playing ‘spot the weasel’ with bad hairpieces. Interestingly, nobody noticed, as I kept a wary eye out for eyes that lingered more than a nanosecond on the top of my head. Our entourage took a booth and we ordered drinks.

Moments after taking our seats, a fellow across the table started cackling uncontrollably while looking straight at me. This was a time of mad black-light posters, and some wavelength apparently liked to bounce off that muskrat pelt, illuminating it with an intensity not seen since Johnny Winter stood on stage under a brilliant limelight that made a 4” thickness of hair light up and reveal his scalp.I yanked that thing off my head and joked that it was radioactive. I just hoped our shipping-out inspection didn’t include a black light.

I passed muster with the Master Chief et al and we began our deployment about a month later. I didn’t have to use the wig while still in port, but I had to tuck under my ball cap like mad and hope some prick monitoring departures at the boat dock wasn’t checking hair length by ordering me to ‘uncover’.

Once at sea, we were freed from the constraints of hair length. Some were like WTF when they saw a shaggy mane so early on, and they weren’t buying my explanation of having fast-growing hair. It never became a ‘command’ issue, however, and hair continued to grow.

I started wearing the wig again around five days before returning to port, always covered by a ball cap. I had a trusted shipmate do the straight-razor high-and-tight on back and sides thing again. Once again, I passed muster and departed immediately on one month R&R. The month after, I had to phone in for two weeks, then went to a school for two weeks.

For the first time in my life, my hair reached my shoulders. It’s never attained that length since - nor will it. Still, I’m glad to have successfully thwarted attempts to force a haircut standard that ensured I’d stand out among the general population . This was 1973, after all. Goes to show the ‘lengths’ to which an 18-year-old kid will go to straddle social strata.

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